Tonight's the night. After another lengthy and eventful cinematic year, 2015's finest talents will be crowned at this evening's 88th annual Academy Awards ceremony. Therefore, in honor of Hollywood's most significant affair, here's a look at my predictions on how the night will unfold:
Best Animated Film: Inside Out
Best Documentary: Amy
Best Foreign Film: Son of Saul
Best Score: Ennio Morricone - The Hateful Eight
Best Adapted Screenplay
Winner - The Big Short
In one of the mist wide-open Best Picture races in recent memory, Adam McKay's housing crisis dramedy, The Big Short, could be in for a surprisingly big evening. But even if it fails to take home the night's most coveted honor, The Big Short shouldn't go home empty handed thanks to a hard-fought win in the Adapted Screenplay race.
Best Original Screenplay
Winner - Spotlight
Another film battling in the three-headed monster for Best Picture is Tom McCarthy's hard-hitting investigative drama, Spotlight. The longtime frontrunner for the top honor has faded lately - as most frontrunners tend to do this time of year - but, either way, Spotlight has the Original Screenplay competition in the bag.
Best Supporting Actress
Winner - Alicia Vikander (The Danish Girl)
The Supporting Actress race has been a messy affair all awards season long. With many people completely uncertain of where borderline lead performances from Alicia Vikander and Rooney Mara (Carol) would go, Kate Winslet (Steve Jobs) reaped the early benefits. But now that Vikander is officially in the mix, I see the Academy leaning in her direction to reward the actress for an exceptional year of performances (even if Oscar regular, Kate Winslet, gives the finer turn).
Best Supporting Actor
Winner - Sylvester Stallone (Creed)
Sometimes it's just easier living in denial, and that was me until this very morning. I wanted to believe in my heart of hearts that the Academy would do the right thing by honoring this year's most deserving supporting performance from Bridge of Spies' Mark Rylance. He absolutely commands the audience's attention and he's the brightest spot of Spielberg's film. However, Sylvester Stallone is milking his legendary underdog character for one more go-around and his pandering to the voters on a well-executed circuit run of interviews will most likely pan out. But you better believe I'll have my fingers crossed.
Winner - Brie Larson (Room)
In what was once a widely debated race, Brie Larson has slowly emerged as a sure-fire selection and it doesn't go without merit. If you haven't seen Room, then shame on you. One of the year's most gripping and powerful films deserves even more acclaim, perhaps something like a Best Picture statue. But is Best Actress is all the Academy is willing to give, then Larson and the entire cast and crew of Room will have to take it.
Winner - Leonardo DiCaprio (The Revenant)
After nearly an entire life in the industry, Leonardo DiCaprio will finally earn his first Oscar win this evening. Fans of the megastar can finally rejoice that their man's legacy has been cemented with other Oscar-winning greats. But most importantly, this is Leo's night and I hope it's as wonderful as he's always imagined it would be. This is one speech I'm eager to see.
Winner - Alejandro G. Inarritu (The Revenant)
If it takes 65 years for an event to happen again, needless to say it's a historical achievement. And since the Oscars are only entering their 88th year in existence, back to back Best Director wins for Alejandro G. Inarritu (last year for Birdman as well) cannot be overstated. His work is brilliant and even though he faces staunch competition in the form of unrecognized lifelong auteur, George Miller (Mad Max: Fury Road), and other potential Best Picture winner helmers, Tom McCarthy and Adam McKay, Inarritu is the most deserving filmmaker of the year.
Winner - Spotlight
In a bit of a shocker, I'm going to go against the grain with my Best Picture prediction. It's never the "sexy" pick rolling with the front-running film since October, especially considering The Revenant's late surge in the race. However, if history tells us anything it's that a large portion of the older voting members have a dislike for overly-violent content. And if there's a defining adjective that best describes The Revenant, it's violent. In fact, with all things considered, Inarritu's exceptional work wouldn't even be my second choice. I'm of the belief that if Spotlight doesn't end of the big winner this evening, it could very well be The Big Short, another entry with a head of steam in its favor. But no matter what direction tonight's awards show chooses, it should be one hell of a ride.